Trends in Customer Relationship Management for Nonprofits

Moving to new customer relationship management (CRM) software can be a big step for any nonprofit. You might be moving to CRM software for the first time. Or you might be changing to CRM software that will better meet your needs today and as your nonprofit grows.  

Regardless of your situation, the right CRM software can help your organization track and manage your organization’s relationships with donors, volunteers, advocates, and other supporters.

But if you’ve been researching nonprofit CRM software, you’ve probably found that the software landscape is continually changing. So, how do you make the best choice for your organization?

Let’s look at some top trends to think about as you look for the right CRM software for your organization.

What is CRM software for nonprofits?

Before we go any further, let’s define what we’re talking about. CRM software for nonprofits houses donor, volunteer, client, event participant, and other constituent data in one place. It can help you track and manage contact data, transactions, interactions, programs and services, campaigns, operations, finances, and more.

Nonprofits often choose a CRM solution as their primary software, and there are different forms of CRM software solutions to choose from. For example, you can select a CRM platform, such as Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud, as your core platform, and then add point solutions and apps from Salesforce and/or the Salesforce AppExchange for specific functionality. Alternatively, you might choose a CRM system like Blackbaud CRM, EveryAction, Virtuous, or another nonprofit CRM system that includes multiple product modules within their core offerings. 

Get the checklist you need to find and implement the right software for your nonprofit. Read The Ultimate Checklist for Selecting Software for Your Nonprofit

Seven trends in the nonprofit CRM market

Now let’s look at seven key trends in the nonprofit CRM software market that you should know about as you consider a new CRM solution:

  1. Cloud-based solutions – Nonprofit organizations are increasingly adopting cloud-based CRM solutions because of their cost-effectiveness and ease of implementation. Cloud-based CRM solutions also offer scalability and the ability to access data from anywhere, making remote work and collaboration easier.
  2. All-in-one vs best-in-class – Historically, nonprofits were more likely to pick one software system that offered functionality for most of their needs. This approach often resulted in limited functionality for some areas of the organization – especially as the organization grew. Today, many best-in-class point solutions offer standard integrations with CRM platforms and systems (and vice-versa), which allows nonprofits to choose the best overall software mix for their organization – giving them the specific functionality they need for each area of the organization without compromising on data integration.
  3. Integrated fundraising capabilities – Nonprofits are seeking CRM solutions that offer or easily integrate with fundraising tools, allowing them to track and manage donor contributions, run targeted fundraising campaigns, and generate reports to measure fundraising effectiveness. These days, integration with online payment processors and peer-to-peer fundraising tools are also mission-critical for many organizations.
  4. Donor retention and engagement functionality – Nonprofits are focusing on building long-term relationships with donors, which is why CRM solutions that support things like personalized communications, automated acknowledgments, and audience segmentation for targeted outreach are gaining popularity.
  5. Data analytics and reporting – Nonprofit organizations are wanting more reporting and data analytics capabilities within their CRM solutions to gain insights into everything from donor behavior and campaign performance to program effectiveness. Many of today’s CRM options offer integration with business intelligence tools, allowing for advanced analytics and data visualizations.
  6. Mobile accessibility – With the high rate of mobile device usage, CRM solutions with mobile apps or responsive interfaces are in demand. Mobile accessibility enables nonprofit staff to access donor information, manage events, and process donations on the go.
  7. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) – Many of today’s CRM solutions can automate manual tasks or, at a minimum, streamline them to save nonprofit staff time. For example, some offer the ability to configure donor and constituent journeys by setting up email series (such as welcome series or end-of-year campaigns) to automatically send unique, targeted messages based on a constituent’s action or in-action over the course of multiple messages.

Find the right CRM solution for your nonprofit

There are many considerations when selecting a new CRM solution for your nonprofit organization. In today’s ever-changing CRM market, it’s important to know your options, understand your organization’s goals, and be aware of common challenges organizations are facing.

It can be extremely useful to work with a nonprofit technology consultant like Cathexis Partners to help define your needs and evaluate CRM solution options to find the right match for your organization. Contact our team today to find out how we can help.

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